NVIDIA CEO, Jen Hsun Huang, opened CES with the official announcement of the new SoC Tegra, or Tegra 2, without however using any product names or announcing detailed specs except on the CPU side (a dualcore ARM Cortex A9). We imagine that beyond these details it shares much with the current Tegra that’s used in the Zune HD. NVIDIA’s demos were relatively impressive when you think that a little SoC such as this new Tegra can do as much, if not more, than a PC could a few years ago!
NVIDIA CEA, Jen Hsun Huang and the “new Tegra” platform.
Tegra is an enormous potential market for NVIDIA who are presenting this product as a revolution, a one-of-a-kind. The market is nonetheless very competitive. Numerous opportunities exist ranging from smartphones to netbooks and multimedia players to tablets (the new “in” device that looks as if it’s finally going to take off this year). NVIDIA is counting on being part of it and is already showing off prototypes, without however saying whether they’re based on the current or the new Tegra. It remains to be seen when these products will materialise, Asus having told us for example that they were only at prototype stage and that the final product would take a different form.
NVIDIA has also found an interesting application for Tegra with Audi, whose new interface uses a Tegra in a version adapted to extreme conditions. This system will first be introduced with the Audi A8 and will be rolled out across the other models to cover the whole range by 2010.
NVIDIA’s advantage still lies in its graphics expertise, which has in particular made it possible for Epic to port unreal Engine 3 to Tegra architecture. In fact, Epic hasn’t committed resources only to support the Zune HD and has ported its engine for ARM architecture which is very widespread and set to become crucial in the video gaming sector. The good news is however that the Tegra graphics controller is supported. Others probably are as well but we imagine that NVIDIA is very competitive here. Note that if you’re interested you’ll soon be able to get a “new Tegra” development kit from NIVIDIA’s site – NVIDIA are of course hoping to multiply the number of applications designed for its SoC.